Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One of those days.

Today is one of those days when being a parent really stinks. All I want to do is turn to my spouse, my rock, and ask him if I'm being completely unreasonable, or if I should continue to stick to my guns. I need someone to have my back. I need someone to tell me it's OK that I blew my top because we all need to do that sometimes.

I need someone to tell me I'm doing a great job. But the someone I really want that from is a nine-hour drive away and working his butt off to keep food on our table and clothing on our bodies. So today is one of those days that I suck it up and deal with things the best way I know how.

Parenting alone while Steve is on the road is tough enough. Throw in a kid with ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder and we're talking a whole different ball game.

Most people understand Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; it's a fairly common diagnosis these days and I will likely write more about how we got to that diagnosis in future posts. Fewer people understand Oppositional Defiant Disorder which renders some techniques for dealing with ADHD useless. With ODD, the ADHD kid - who often has trouble paying attention and disrupts things anyway - then becomes a kid who lives to annoy people and defy authority. Everything has the potential to become an argument. Everything.

The following is an example of a typical (read: many times daily) exchange in our house:

Me: "Please take care of your breakfast dishes."
Sam: "Can I have some more toast first?"
Me: (calmly) "No, you're done. Please take care of your dishes."
Sam: (louder) "I still have to finish my apple juice."
Me: (willing to give a little) "Fine, finish your juice and then take care of your dishes."
Sam: "But why can't I have some more toast?"
Me: (still calm) "Breakfast time is over."
Sam: (perhaps pounding a fist on the table) "But I'm still hungry."
Me: (calmly but firmly) "You ate two pieces of toast, two eggs, and a glass of juice. You're done."
Sam: (still not responding to my request) "Rachel, hurry up. Mom said breakfast is over."
Me: (gently turning his face to look at me) "Don't worry about your sister, just do as you're told."
Sam: (shoving his chair back from the table) "What, so you don't care about her taking forever?"
Me: (borderline yelling) "You focus on you. Now take care of your dishes."
Sam: "Fine!"  Dishes slam, feet stomp, chair teeters on two legs.

Me: "Rachel, please take care of your breakfast dishes."
Rachel: "OK"

This is how it goes on a regular basis, starting with getting out of bed in the morning and ending with brushing teeth and going to bed at night. This morning was very typical, except that it was a little more intense than usual. By the time the kids got on the school bus I was exhausted and beyond frustrated.

I have learned to truly enjoy and appreciate the good times with Sam - and there really are many of those, too. When he allows me to love on him and hug and kiss him, I soak it up. When he harnesses his creativity with a really awesome drawing (something he loves to do) that he can't wait to show me, or carves himself a really cool walking stick (which he did over the weekend) I hold those moments in my heart for days like today when I have to dig really deep to find a reason not to throw in the towel and give up.

Our children are gifts from God and I seek His guidance in how to raise them and positively influence their lives. Furthermore, I have always felt that God will not give us any more than we can handle. Apparently He felt Steve and I were a strong enough team to handle this iron-willed boy. On days like today I wonder if I am truly the best mama for the job, but really, who am I to question God's grand plan?

1 comment:

  1. In the end, he did what you asked and that in itself is a major victory! He could have stomped off and not taken care of his dishes and then you have to continue the discipline! UGH! It is SO HARD (and exhausting) to be consistent and stick to your guns as a parent, but I am FINALLY seeing the benefits with Ella. Sam may fight you every step, but it looks like he still knows you're the boss! :-)